A new communications system for US Navy submarines has successfully completed a critical design review (CDR) carried out by a Lockheed Martin-led industry team.

The successful completion of the CDR allows the industry team to begin hardware production and deliver engineering design models in early 2011.

The new communications at speed and depth (CSD) will provide the submarines with real-time, two-way communications without requiring the vessels to proceed to periscope depth.

Lockheed Martin CSD senior programme manager Rod Reints said the CSD systems would keep submarines connected to the global information grid far beneath the water’s surface, helping submariners remain safe and hidden from enemy radars.

Lockheed Martin will deliver two tethered expendable communications buoy systems and an acoustic-to-radio-frequency gateway system along with associated equipment for installation aboard submarines and ashore under a $35m contract awarded in January 2009.

The Lockheed Martin-led CSD team includes Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems and ERAPSCO, a joint venture between USSI and Sparton Corporation.